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FHA appraisers must follow certain rules governing the process including some that address specific systems in the home. Some FHA appraisal requirements depend on standards set by the local authority, while others have specific guidance found in FHA rulebooks.

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FHA Appraisal Rules: Heating, Cooling, Plumbing

September 25, 2022

FHA Appraisal Rules: Heating, Cooling, Plumbing
FHA appraisers must follow certain rules governing the process including some that address specific systems in the home. Appraisals are a mixed bag at times: some FHA appraisal requirements depend on standards set by the local authority, while other FHA appraisal requirements have specific guidance found in FHA rulebooks.

FHA appraisal rules are published in HUD 4000.1, the rule book for all FHA single family mortgage loans, refinancing, and reverse mortgages. Instructions to the FHA appraiser include guidelines for heating, cooling, and plumbing systems in the home. The section on heating includes the following guidance:

 “The Appraiser must examine the heating system to determine if it is adequate for healthful and comfortable living conditions, regardless of design, fuel or heat source.”

The system must be powerful enough to heat the entire home. FHA appraisers are directed to note a deficiency if the heating system does not meet any of the following standards:
 
  • Automatically heat the living areas of the house to a minimum of 50 degrees.
  • Must provide healthful and comfortable heat.
  • Must rely upon a fuel source that is readily obtainable.
  • Must have market acceptance.
  • Must be able to operate without human intervention for extended periods of time.
FHA loan rules say a centralized air system is not required, but where present the system must be in working condition. If the system is not operational, the appraiser may require a correction.

And then there is the issue of FHA appraisal rules for plumbing systems in the home. HUD 4000.1 states, “The Appraiser must notify the Mortgagee of the deficiency of MPR or MPS if the plumbing system does not function to supply water pressure, flow and waste removal.”

To review the plumbing system, the appraiser is required to flush the toilets and operate faucets to check water pressure and flow. The FHA appraiser is instructed “to determine that the plumbing system is intact, that it does not emit foul odors, that faucets function appropriately, that both cold and hot water run, and that there is no readily observable evidence of leaks or structural damage under fixtures.”

The appraisal process also covers the water heart, which FHA loan rules say must include a temperature and pressure-relief valve “with piping to safely divert escaping steam or hot water.” 

If the home is served by a septic system, the Appraiser must look for signs of failure or malfunction. Where such issues are present, the appraiser will require a correction and possibly a re-inspection.

Some of the rules covering septic systems will be established by the local authority, so do not assume FHA loan rules have the final say on what is acceptable and what is not. You’ll need to talk with your loan officer to learn what is typical in that housing market.

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